Running for my Life
Running, by faith and with endurance, from mental illness to marathon runner, charity campaigner, and brother in Christ

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,

as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."

- 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Last night during my volunteering with the homeless, I found a brief moment to quietly sit alone with my own thoughts and reflections. Those reflections covered twelve years I'd had neither the desire nor the right to see.

I thought back to a time when I had been beaten into submission, on my knees against the ropes, the referee with one arm raised ready to step in and stop the fight, put me out of my misery. 

This was not to be the end of a warrior but a feeble, ignoble and bitter demise.

On January 6, 2012, twelve years ago today, I attempted suicide for the third and final time. This was not a cry for help, this was the end. And it was the end, the final verse of a chapter defined by tumult and chaos; the incandescent rage, financial carnage, drunken binges and broken friendships of mania infused with the crushing guilt and shattering loneliness of depression.

Bipolar had robbed me of my life, self-respect and dignity. The towel had been thrown in and God would forgive me, He alone knew how broken I was at the pain being caused to those I loved around me.

That I woke up the next morning is by God's grace alone, embodied by the amazing emergency services and the staff in A&E at Manchester Royal Infirmary. It was not the end, but the beginning of, for me, the living years.

A Life Worth Living

In the months afterwards, I was like a small child again, seeking purpose in the wreckage of an abysmal life; why had I been spared? Yet there was a sense that I must find reason in everything and indeed seek God's calling in my life. Twelve years on, I sit here with a joy in life and a conviction in that very purpose.

It has not always been easy; recovering from suicide did not initially spare me a life with mental illness, but what was once a burden became a gift in so many ways. If sparing my life was God's gift to me, then I have been able to see my mental illness as a gift which allows me to help others. 

The first thing I realised is that I could not fight mental illness; it was a fight I could not win. I had to find a different way to see it. Anger would kill, where self awareness, compassion and knowledge have preserved.

Life is no longer a battle, no longer a fusion of disgust anger and contempt; I have learned not to fight an invisible enemy, but to cherish it; it is who I am, well, certainly who I was. I’ve not had an episode in several years and have been free of medication for longer, and that I can only lift to the Grace of God.

Every day I live is a gift, an opportunity to help others, impact lives and help them to avoid the road which so nearly cost me my life; to give peace, comfort and hope where fear reigns.

No day is ever taken for granted; each is a second chance which I may otherwise have been denied.

When the type of darkness has descended that would have you take your own life, there can only be gratitude, joy and awe at having the chance to live again.

I always try to be humble but am proud and so blessed by much of what I have been able to achieve in recent years; it would be impossible not to be given that I had nothing but the love of a small few around me those years ago.

I am no hero, I am simply someone upon whom God bestowed the gift of life. I try every day to pass that gift on to others, I live every day to glorify God by His work in me.

Thank you all for never giving up on me when I had long given up on myself. There are chapters still to be written in this book.

​​And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,

who have been called according to His purpose.

​- Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Below see my story in my words in four minutes... filmed for Streatham Central Church